After two one-run losses in Detroit, Jake Odorizzi knew he had to do something to help the Tampa Bay Rays salvage something out of a three-game series.
Six shutout innings later, he had done his job.
Odorizzi (7-8) held Detroit to six hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 93 pitches, but with the Rays leading 8-0, there was no reason to push him any harder.
"Any time we're hitting the ball like that, it is fun to be on the mound," he said. "I just kept throwing the fastball, and it really worked well for me."
With the Rays still on the fringe of the American League wild-card race, and after losing in 13 innings on Tuesday, manager Kevin Cash wasn't shy about stating the importance of the game.
"We had to get this win," he said. "We needed it."
Detroit's Kyle Lobstein (3-7) took the loss in his second start back from a shoulder injury, giving up five runs, seven hits and two walks in 5 2-3 innings.
"It was a mixed bag for Kyle," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He struck out six, and he was getting some swings and misses, but you can't give up five runs and win."
The Tigers, who currently have a 17-man pitching staff, used 14 pitchers between Tuesday night and Wednesday, including all 12 of their relievers.
"I told Brad during the pitching change that I'm not used to catching four straight rookies in September," said Alex Avila, a key member of Detroit's four straight division-championship teams from 2011-2015. "This is completely strange after what we've done the last few years."
Ausmus felt that the pitching struggles had as much to do with the shutout loss as Odorizzi.
"He's a very effective pitcher, because he can move up and down in the zone," he said. "But it is tough to get into any kind of offensive rhythm when you are standing out there for 20 or 30 minutes every inning on defense."
Tampa Bay broke the game open with three runs in the fourth on run-scoring doubles by Logan Forsythe and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Detroit had a big early scoring chance in the third when Anthony Gose doubled and took third on center fielder Brandon Guyer's error. With one out, the Rays brought in the infield, and Ian Kinsler hit a line drive directly at third baseman Evan Longoria.
Odorizzi walked Miguel Cabrera on four pitches, and Guyer made a leaping catch of J.D. Martinez's 400-foot drive to left-center, saving two runs.
With one out in the fourth, Mikie Mahtook walked and took second on Longoria's single. Forsythe blooped a double to right, scoring Mahtook, and Cabrera followed with a two-run double into the gap in left-center.
Detroit put two runners on in the fifth with no outs, but Gose bunted into a force at third, Kinsler flied out and Cabrera struck out to end the inning.
"On 3-1, I threw an up-and-away fastball, and he swung through it," Odorizzi said. "The next one, I just figured I'd throw it as hard as I could, and he'd either hit it hard or he'd miss it. He missed."
Forsythe's solo homer made it 4-0 in the sixth, and Tim Beckham added his eighth home run of the season two batters later to chase Lobstein. J.P. Arencibia hit Tampa Bay's third homer in two innings off Buck Farmer in the seventh, giving the Rays a 6-0 lead, and Mahtook made it four with a 430-foot blast to the flag pole in center field.
"I certainly never expected to hit a home run to center field here," Mahtook said. "I hit line drives, not home runs."
The Rays added a third run in the seventh on Beckham's RBI single.
Rays: OF Steven Souza went 3 for 5, including a three-run homer, while rehabbing with Class-A Charlotte in the Florida State League playoffs.
Tigers: DH Victor Martinez (illness) was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game, but Ausmus said he was available off the bench. ... Farmer left the game after Arencibia's homer with forearm tightness. Ausmus said Farmer had been dealing with the problem last week, but thought it had cleared up.
Rays: Tampa Bay is off Thursday before a three-game weekend series with Boston.
Tigers: Detroit goes to Cleveland to start a four-game series. Alfredo Simon (12-9, 4.86) faces Danny Salazar (12-8, 3.54) in a rematch from Saturday. In that game, Simon pitched seven shutout innings while J.D. Martinez and Tyler Collins homered off Salazar in a 6-0 win.
Wednesday marked the 38th anniversary of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker making their major league debuts as Detroit's double-play combination in the second game of a doubleheader with Boston. They combined for 4,683 games and 39 seasons, all with the Tigers, and were key members of Detroit's last World Series title in 1984.